Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sunday 3rd July - Sailing towards Juneau - Cruising up the inner passage

A late breakfast after the sea settles.  A trip to the gym – WOW, this has to be the best view ever in a gym – right at the front, running up the Alaskan coastline.  

 We went to a couple of Presentation shows and have now booked all our shore excursions. A late lunch in Lido, then my first nana nap of the journey, a very welcome catch up on my sleep deprived schedule.  Formal attire tonight and a sumptuous dinner in the Manhattan lounge followed by Marquee Showtime which was stunning, then Jimmy Maddox, Piano Man playing Beatles medleys in the Piano Lounge. 

Highlight of the day – the waters settling as I really was unsure how I would cope if they stayed rough!

Saturday 2nd July - Vancouver

Up early, showered and off for a walk to the beach by Stanley park where we met Cathy, Richard, and their gorgeous boys Eddie and Jackson.  We had a wonderful catch up and Starbuck’s breakfast on the beach!  A walk along the beach and it was time for us to depart to board our cruise.

Love the community gardens dotted around downtown Vancouver

 WOW this boat is a little bigger than I was anticipating. All boarded and settled into our room by 1.30pm.  Our room is HUGE, with awesome balcony. Up to Lido lounge for lunch and a realisation that there is a serious danger of food coma!  Practice drill at 3.30pm, then 5pm, we are off!  Dinner in the Lido Lounge then to bed… WOW – some rough kind of sea we are on. I woke off and on throughout the night with the rocking and banging.  I am finding it very difficult to walk and keep the squeamish feeling at bay. 

Today’s highlight, the enormity of this vessel and the voyage we are embarking on.

Friday 1st July - almost on holiday...

Up very, very early to get our cab out to Denver airport!  Arrived, checked in, through security all very smoothly, then for the delay.  Our flight was delayed 2 and ½ hours and we couldn’t make our connection at Seattle.  I spent the time working, answering emails, and blogging.  Eventually, we flew up to Seattle.  Smooth flight.  We landed to find we had been put on an Alaskan air flight, arriving into Vancouver by 5pm.  Despite checking that our bags would come with us, they didn’t make it.  Would you believe we experienced that feeling again, as the empty baggage carousel showed our fate. 

Francoise was amazing, at the baggage counter and yet again, we completed all the missing baggage paperwork.  AGH…… In a cab and off to our hotel in time to meet out dear friends Irene and Jim who we haven’t seen since Italy 2013.  WOW what a reunion, and what a party to welcome us to Vancouver on Canada Day.  We watched the parade for a time, then had a delicious dinner before going to Canada Place for a stunning firework display.  100,000 people out partying and celebrating!  WOW.

Back to our Hotel, Blue Horizon to be reunited with our bags which were located in Seattle at 11.56pm.

Today’s highlight, definitely reconnecting with Irene and Jim.

Thursday 30th June - Exploring Denver with Leigh and Dan

Up early and packed up.  Bags transferred back to the Hyatt Regency where we stay tonight.  Off to Boulder for our tour of Google.  I am completely in awe of Grant, driving confidently and competently through the Denver town, surrounds and mountainsides.  We arrive at Google Headquarters in Boulder to be met by our gorgeous guide Rio.  WOW – I thought we at CORE Education Ltd, had the best workplace in the world… perhaps it is only second best now.   This place is as much like a home away from home as you could imagine, even down to BYOP – bring your own pet, with dog leash peg stations everywhere.  Can you imagine bringing your pet to work – surreal eh!  The ‘never more than 150 feet from food and refreshment sure is evident with cafes, and drink stations everywhere.  The 'play' philosophy is also evident with a climbing wall, play tables, gaming stations, and much, much more.  The themed rooms are cool too.  Boulder is the site of engineers, mainly working on Google Drive, Google Classroom, and Google Maps.  It sure is all kinds of overwhelming to be in the heartbeat of such Googly goodness.  I really like the look of the flip chrome book and think this might be something I will purchase… All too soon our tour was over!  What an incredible experience!  Thanks Leigh for arranging this MAGICAL add-on!  

Grant driving all around Denver, with his trusty co-pilot Dan!

Off to Boulder central where by chance we met a lady stocking the brochure stand in the centre of the city and she was able to advise us the best stop for breakfast and the best area to explore.  So breakfast at Lucille’s it was – YUM!

Then off to explore Nederland, famous for the cryogenic frozen man.  But oh so much more famous for the Carousel of Happiness.  “Scott Harrison was a 19-year-old Marine Gunner serving in Vietnam where the gift of a music box and the image of a carousel in a mountain meadow calmed him.  Many years later, after rescuing an abandoned carousel, he began carving what would become a whimsical menagerie.  It took him a little over 26 years to hand-carve the 26 animals and a dedicated group of volunteers helped bring the carousel to life in the little mountain town west of Boulder.  The fully-enclosed Carousel of Happiness turns to the  music of a restored 1913 Wurlitzer Band Organ, and is home to a gift shop, toy store and do-it-yourself puppet theater.”  www.carouselofhappiness.org After a walk around Nederland the rain began to fall and we set off back for Denver, stopping at Black Hawk, the scariest town I think I have ever driven through – well beautiful and immaculate, but just back to back Casinos for many, many miles.  Back into Denver for an afternoon of cocktails, laughter and stories with Nita, Terry, Leigh and Dan.  The evening rounded out with Grant and I having a last explore of downtown Denver seeing many amazing statues, gardens and buildings.